Marilyn Singleton, a practicing physician and Independent candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from California, is also a licensed attorney and has taught at Johns Hopkins medical school.
In anticipation of the November 6 congressional elections, HuffPost Women caught up with her about who she is, why she's running and how to get involved with her campaign.
What's your favorite quality in another person?
What three words best describe you?
Generous, focused, pragmatic.
What's your biggest flaw?
I do not suffer fools gladly.
What failure are you most grateful for?
After graduating from Stanford, [I] didn't get in to Stanford Medical School. But attending UCSF and living in the Haight-Ashbury in the 60s was the best educational and social experience of my life.
If you weren't you, who would you be?
Other than being my spoiled rescue dogs, I'm very happy being me.
If you could live anywhere, where would that be?
I'm living there (Oakland, CA).
What woman do you most look up to?
My mother in heaven who inspired me to reach for the stars, and Margie Liberty on earth who inspires me. She reminds me that the political elite do not hold all the cards -- we do. And its us to us to make our country a better place for us and our children.
What's the best advice you've ever been given?
From my mother: Be yourself, don't get sucked in to wanting what everybody else has,do what you say you are going to do, treat everybody the way you would like to be treated, and never "take low" to anybody.
What's your joy trigger?
A picture of my newborn son in a hospital gift shop T-shirt that says, "Special Delivery, Boston Lying-In Hospital; and baby animals, especially elephants. P.S. I named my first stuffed elephant, "Elephant Gerald" -- get it?! (After Ella Fitzgerald. My parents were big jazz fans)
What is your favorite book?
Too many, but I'll try: "The Tao of Physics" by F. Capra (an explanation of life); Kalki; "Messiah" by Gore Vidal (the folly of arrogance and power); "Free Flight" by Douglas Terman (hope after devastation); "Marvin and Tige" by Fancina Glass (doing the right thing can be painful); "Anthem" by Ayn Rand (triumph of individuals over the system), "Our Kind" by Marvin Harris (cultural anthropology); "White Rabbit" by Martha Morrison, MD (insight into drug addiction); "Childhood's End" by Arthur Clarke (a vision of our future); "Midnight Cowboy" by James Herlihy (a love story).
What is your favorite album?
"Songs in the Key of Life" by Stevie Wonder.
Where did you have the best meal of your life?
The Townhouse, Emeryville, CA. Garlic fries, crispy calamari, artichoke/crab dip on the best warm bread on earth, lamb salad, and sadly, no room for an entree or dessert. And later that night home-made brownies with dark chocolate chips and walnuts.
What is your favorite thing you've ever worn and why?
My cap and gown from medical school because it meant I was really going to be a doctor.
What talent do you wish you had?
To speak more languages fluently.
What quality or accomplishment do you want people to know you for?
That I have actually saved lives with my own two hands, and still could cry or laugh with patients even after working for 48 hours straight; my American Jurisprudence award in Constitutional Law.
What makes you feel the most free?
That I can take care of myself if I have to and that I quit smoking.
Why are you running?
This is the first time a person who is not affiliated with a political party could run. I believe the persistent 14-1/2 % unemployment rate; 72% [of] black children are born to single mothers (the largest contributor to poverty), the 40% high school drop out rate speak to the fact that old-school poverty programs haven't worked. We need a new process, not new programs. I have fresh ideas and a new approaches to attaining financial security and social stability.
What is the most important issue for women in this election?
Not allowing politicians to cast women as helpless victims as a tool to collect votes. We are strong and as my mother said, "you are free, black, and 21, and nothing can stop you." Women can fight the system, not with the attitude of a victim, but as a confident winner.
How can readers get involved in your campaign?
Go to my website, singletonforcongress.org and click volunteer and/or donate -- and remember to vote!
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story indicated that Marilyn Davis was a college professor. She in fact taught classes at Johns Hopkins medical school.